Saturday, June 3, 2017

Making The Most of Your Time

The truck driving career has it's own unique set of issues that go along with the territory.  Just go to any truck driving forum or chat room and you will find that "misery loves company."  Man, the whiners and complainers in this business divide and multiply like an invasion of truck driving amoebas!  One of the best things one can do is learn to work within the parameters of  this career and figure out how to make it work for you.  Most people buck and fight the system trying to make it work the way they think it should, and thus we have so many miserable people out here.

One of the most common complaints we hear concern the unfortunate wait times involved, and how those wait times affect our productivity in a negative way.  Once a person learns to manage their time in such a way that works with those wait times they will find themselves being much more productive and happy with their job and their pay checks.  Part of that is knowing and understanding the log book rules.  I use the split sleeper berth rule fairly often in a way that helps me to keep moving and be  productive.  I find that most drivers are clueless about that rule, and many of the ones who know about it can't grasp the concept of how it will help you.

Look, I understand how living in a truck is not the most wonderful type of life, but if you choose to drive a truck for a living, then you should be willing to figure out how to enjoy yourself out here a little.  This career is much more of a lifestyle choice than it is just a choice of the type of job you are going to do.  Over the road truck drivers live in their truck, and living in what amounts to a walk-in closet is not exactly romantic or appealing to most folks!

GET OUT OF YOUR TRUCK!  Yes, folks you have got to get out of that truck a little.  Get yourself some exercise, enjoy some of the local scenery, or even some of the local food.  Take a walk, explore a little of the history of the different areas you are in.  We have a commonly used acronym in trucking...  G.O.A.L.  That stands for Get Out And Look.  We use it for a reminder to got out and look behind your truck when backing into a spot so that you don't hit anything.  There is hardly anything visible to a driver when backing his truck, and therefore many of our accidents happen when backing.

I propose we use that acronym for a new purpose, and that is to help you enjoy your life on the road.  Don't be a miserable truck driver who always complains about every little problem that comes with the territory.  Do something positive about your choice of career and make something enjoyable happen for yourself!  Get out and look around a little!  Capitalize on the benefits of the traveling lifestyle that you are inextricably involved in - as some folks would say, "Get A Life!"

I do this all the time, as I am sure many of you have noticed from the things I post in here.  Just this week I had to make a delivery to Ryerson Metals in Greenville, South Carolina.  I've been here many times before, and I know it is going to take a while to get unloaded, despite the fact that they require you to make an appointment.  I have never gotten away from that place in any semblance of a scenario that seems efficient, and certainly they have never started unloading me anywhere close to the time of my precious appointment!

The best way to handle a customer like that is to plan on taking your ten hour break while there, getting some sleep and maybe do a little exploring while you wait.  So, I took a walk for some fresh air and the benefits of the exercise.  I looked up a few restaurants on line that were in walking distance and tried a new one that I hadn't been to before.  I ate a meal at Memo's, a small southern diner that was inexpensive with a real friendly wait staff.  For $8.46 I got a grilled Pork Chop with Green Beans, Mustard Greens, and Cooked Cabbage.  It came with a piece of corn bread and a glass of sweet tea.  That's true southern cuisine and hospitality, and it was a real bargain.  I slept for a good while and then enjoyed another nice walk in a different direction and ended up taking my evening meal at the Runway Cafe, a little diner at the local airport.  It was good also, and it was in a pleasant little location overlooking the runway of the airport and a small little park where children were playing happily and watching the planes come and go from the runway.

I saw this nice little Cessna sitting parked on the pavement right next to the playground and just outside the windows of the diner...

It reminded me of my friend Sam Jansen who is a missionary down in the jungles of Bolivia among the Ayore Indians and other indigenous tribes in the area.  I still remember the time that my late friend, Steve Spradley, and I met Sam at an airport in Longview, TX to present to him the little Cessna plane that Steve had purchased for his work down there.  I was so glad to get to do the various lettering on the plane for him, and it was just a pleasant memory all around.  Sam is a great bush pilot and still uses that little plane to this day.

I also saw this old public transportation vehicle parked in the grass on airport road.  I'm not sure what it's purpose is anymore, as it seemed as if it had been parked here on purpose a long time ago, but it was an interesting looking vehicle, so I took a shot of it just to share with you...

On this back haul load I was scheduled to stop in at the terminal in Gulfport, Mississippi to get my truck serviced, so there is another delay on my time of working and making money.  I almost always make a visit to my favorite little restaurant here called The Rusty Pelican...

This is a local restaurant owned and operated by a diminutive little Vietnamese woman who really seems to enjoy what she does.  It is mostly a seafood restaurant with a nice selection of sandwiches too, but what really gets me motivated to come here is the three items on the menu that are traditional Vietnamese foods.  This little lady makes the most delicious bowl of Pho that I have ever eaten...

If you are ever here, you really should try it!  This thing is large enough to feed two or three people, and I consistently embarrass myself each time I am here by eating the whole thing!  I always get two egg rolls with it and dip them in her homemade fish sauce.  I tell you those egg rolls are really good too, some of the best I have ever tasted.  The people here have gotten to know me now, and often times I will hear my waitress go back to the Kitchen and tell the proprietress, "The truck driver that likes Pho is here!"  She will often bring my bowl of Pho to my table with such a proud look on here face, and present it to me herself.  Each time I finish the whole thing, she will come to my table and look into my bowl and grin as she says, "You did good, very very good, you eat it all, that brings you good luck!"

Get out of your truck and enjoy yourself a little out here,  That is part of the recipe for success at this career.  Don't imprison yourself in that little mobile domicile of yours, it's not good for you.


  1. I'm still happily reading along with you; have referred your blog to a few people as well; hoping you don't mind!
    Thanks for all you do, O/S. Someday I'll sign up to TT .... for now, I'm still just "read only" because until I get my kids "situated" (well, one down.. one to go...) and my husband 100% behind me (he's at 50 right now...) I'll create a profile and contribute. Accordingly!~ I always enjoy ALL you post and all you blog. I know, the negativity on TTR is through the roof. I can give you an example; my husband was trying to help a young lad there, Boattlebot... and man... the flying foo foo. I quit reading over his shoulder. I told him to PM Boat and tell him to come to TT. Y'all are the "real deal" and I / we.. thank you for ALL you do, Dale.
    Be safe,
    Anne and Tom ;)

  2. Another great post! You are very good at leading by example. Not just in the trucking business but in life.

    When I was a youngster I once complained to my Dad that I was bored. I'll never forget what he told me: "An intelligent mind never gets bored."

    A life coach provides the tools. It's up to the individual to use the tools to build success.

    Will continue to follow your every blog!